Jason Downer

Jason Downer (September 9, 1813  September 1, 1883) was a Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The Honorable

Jason Downer
Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court
In office
Fall 1864  Spring 1867
Appointed byJames T. Lewis
Preceded byByron Paine
Succeeded byByron Paine
Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge
for the 2nd Circuit
In office
Fall 1869  December 31, 1869
Appointed byLucius Fairchild
Preceded byArthur McArthur, Sr.
Succeeded byDavid W. Small
Personal details
Born(1813-09-09)September 9, 1813
Sharon, Vermont
DiedSeptember 1, 1883(1883-09-01) (aged 69)
Resting placeForest Home Cemetery
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Jane Dunbar
  • (died)
  • Alcy E. Miner
  • (died 1888)
Alma materDartmouth College


Downer was born in Sharon, Vermont.[1] He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1838.[2] Downer moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin Territory, in 1842. He was one of the founders of the Milwaukee Sentinel and briefly served as its first editor before turning it over to General Rufus King. When Downer died, September 1, 1883, he left an estate worth about $250,000 (about $6,000,000 in 2019 dollars). He gave away about $150,000 to friends and institutions, and left the rest to his wife, Alcy. Alcy made a $5,000 donation to the Wisconsin Female College at Fox Lake, on the condition that they name it Downer College, in memory of her husband. The school eventually became Milwaukee-Downer College and spawned the Milwaukee-Downer Seminary. Milwaukee-Downer College was ultimately integrated into Lawrence University.

Public service

Downer was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1864 after Justice Byron Paine resigned to enlist in the American Civil War. In 1865, Downer's appointment was confirmed by a special election, and he won an 8 year term on the court, but he disliked judicial service. When Paine returned from the war, Justice Downer resigned and returned to private practice. He briefly returned to the bench in 1869 when he was appointed to fill the last few months of Arthur McArthur's term as Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge for the 2nd Circuit.


  1. "Jason Downer". Wisconsin Court System. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
  2. "Downer, Jason 1813 - 1883". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-11-02.

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.